Saturday, September 27, 2008


Deaths from illness are generally greatest in winter so the fact that people in tropical countries have shorter lifespans obviously reflects factors other than their warmer climate: The greater prevalence of uncontrolled insect pests, for instance, and the fact (confirmed in the study below) that blacks have greater health problems. The article below however restricts itself to different areas in California so public health measures there should be fairly uniform statewide.

It would appear however that it was only heart disease that was found to be slightly more common in warmer parts of the State. Since the authors apparently examined a large range of causes of death, this single difference almost certainly is just the result of data dredging -- random, in other words: Not to be taken seriously. I was born and bred in a very hot climate (but in an area populated by people of mainly British extraction) so if the contentions of these authors had any merit, people should have been dying like flies from heart attacks. They didn't. Abstract follows

A Multicounty Analysis Identifying the Populations Vulnerable to Mortality Associated with High Ambient Temperature in California

By Rupa Basu and Bart D. Ostro

The association between ambient temperature and mortality has been established worldwide, including the authors' prior study in California. Here, they examined cause-specific mortality, age, race/ethnicity, gender, and educational level to identify subgroups vulnerable to high ambient temperature. They obtained data on nine California counties from May through September of 1999-2003 from the National Climatic Data Center (countywide weather) and the California Department of Health Services (individual mortality). Using a time-stratified case-crossover approach, they obtained county-specific estimates of mortality, which were combined in meta-analyses. A total of 231,676 nonaccidental deaths were included. Each 10øF (c.4.7øC) increase in mean daily apparent temperature corresponded to a 2.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.3, 3.9) increase for cardiovascular mortality, with the most significant risk found for ischemic heart disease. Elevated risks were also found for persons at least 65 years of age (2.2%, 95% CI: 0.04, 4.0), infants 1 year of age or less (4.9%, 95% CI: -1.8, 11.6), and the Black racial/ethnic group (4.9%, 95% CI: 2.0, 7.9). No differences were found by gender or educational level. To prevent the mortality associated with ambient temperature, persons with cardiovascular disease, the elderly, infants, and Blacks among others should be targeted.

American Journal of Epidemiology 2008 168(6):632-637

Honey could be a wonder drug

Time for a double-blind trial. I have a bottle of Manuka honey in my medicine cabinet but have never used it for anything. Being an old guy, I mostly uses iodine for asepsis. It stings but that way you know it is doing you good! (just joking)

HONEY, used for generations to soothe sore throats, could soon be substituted for antibiotics in fighting stubborn ear, nose and throat infections, according to a new study. Ottawa University doctors found in tests that ordinary honey kills bacteria that cause sinus infections, and does it better in most cases than antibiotics. The researchers have so far tested manuka honey from New Zealand, and sidr honey from Yemen. "It's astonishing," researcher Joseph Marson said of bees' unexplained ability to combine the nectar of flowers into a seemingly potent medicine.

The preliminary tests were conducted in laboratory dishes, not in live patients, but included the "superbug" methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, which is highly resistant to antibiotics. In upcoming human trials, a "honey rinse" would be used to "flush out the goo from sinus cavities," said Marson.

The two killed all floating bacteria in liquid, and 63-91 per cent of biofilms - micro-organisms that sometimes form a protective layer in sinus cavities, urinary tracts, catheters, and heart valves, protecting bacteria from normal drug treatments and often leading to chronic infections. The most effective antibiotic, rifampin, killed just 18 percent of the biofilm samples in the tests.

"As of today, nobody is sure what in the honey kills the bacteria," Marson said, noting that "not all honeys have the same potency" and calling for more research to determine the mechanism behind the healing. Canada's clover and buckwheat honey did not work at all. Previous studies have shown honey's healing properties on infected wounds.

The results of the study were presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, in Chicago.



Anonymous said...

In war torn areas of Africa in the last few decades, if a large open wound was in risk of infection, and basically just needed to heal up as, say some loss of limb or a rib or two, the new trick discovered was to just pack the tissue with...SUGAR.


Manuka Honey said...

Manuka Honey is better than other types of honey because it has added antibacterial properties not found in standard honeys. Bacteria cannot survive in the moist healing environment created by Manuka Honey.